Sunday, April 25, 2010

Class #99 Power Pump Sunday 3 p.m. (Jessica for Beth/Betsy)

“A whole bunch more like that,” she says. Uh oh, I think, this cannot be good. We’re doing plié squats and we’ve already done like a thousand when Jessica offers up the ‘whole bunch more’ directive. Specifically, we’re doing pulses – little baby movements of only a few inches – while maintaining the deep squat. Heretofore, she’s been saying “pulse for seven” or five or three so I know that a 'whole bunch' has to mean more than seven maybe its even the biblical seven times seven meaning essentially infinity. That’s what it seems like. And feels like.

This is how Power Pump goes with a Mougeot (Jessica is Kris’ step daughter) at the helm - lots and lots of repetitions. I already know, from previous experience, to put a small amount of weight on my bar but no matter how light I go, the sheer number of reps is going to burn out the targeted muscle every time.

After a five-minute warm up where we essentially get a preview of the whole class, Jessica has us put on our “heavy” weights for squats. From here we do non-stop squats with a heavy bar on our shoulders for about seven minutes. We do single squats (down/up in one motion), two counts down, two counts up, three counts down/up and pulses – three, five, seven, etc. All of these variations are mixed, matched and blended in an effort, I suppose, to distract us from the painfully obvious fact that we’re doing the same movement over and over again until the quadriceps muscle is (French) fried. Then we move on to the next muscle.

And so it goes through bicep curls, tricep extensions, bench presses, upright rows, shoulder presses, dead lifts (lots of dead lifts), lunges, bent over rows, plié squats etc. Each muscle group gets its five to seven minutes in the spotlight before limping off to lick its wounds.

I’ve said it before – if you want to get your weight lifting workout done in a group format with a motivating teacher and some pulsating music, this isn’t a bad way to go. It’s going to hurt no matter what – might as well do it with company.

I’ve had two other classes from Jessica, both of the kickboxing variety but it doesn’t surprise me that she’s qualified to teach Power Pump. It also doesn’t surprise me that her version would be hard. By the way, she does every single repetition with us, in fact, she does quite a few more than me because she changes her weights more quickly (between sets) and she never stops in despair to roll her eyes toward heaven while imploring ‘how many more?’ like I do on occasion. She did at one point say, “this is hurting me too”, which I took as a small consolation.

Jessica is 'stylin' in Komen's Ace for the Cure

At the end, we do abs of course – there will always be abs to do. The thing is I’ve got to be back in this room in 90 minutes to do Kris Mougeot’s “Hard Core” class, which is an abstravaganza of the most extreme kind and I need to conserve a modicum of juice for it without being too obvious about dogging the end of Jessica’s class.

This is class #99 and to tell you the truth, it sorta feels like it. This will be my last Sunday on the quest as I count down toward Friday and the magic number 110. Then I’m really going to dog it – for about two weeks. Well, one week for sure.

There are about 20 folks in Jessica’s class this afternoon and an unusually high percentage of men (maybe 40%). The $25 gift certificate goes to Heather Neal.

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